Jan. 4, 2004
PULLMAN, Wash. - Senior guards Nihan Anaz and LaTasha O'Keith combined to score 50 points to lead Cal to an 85-71 victory over Washington State Sunday afternoon at Friel Court. The Golden Bears improved to 9-4 (2-2 Pac-10), while the Cougars dropped to 4-9 (0-4 Pac-10).
Anaz and O'Keith had career highs of 30 and 20 points, respectively, bettering their previous bests of 22 and 18. The duo helped Cal avenge last year's 67-64 setback in Pullman which saw the Cougars snap a 45-game losing streak.
"They both came out ready to play," said Cal head coach Caren Horstmeyer. "I thought they were focused. Their teammates helped them because when people collapsed, they were able to make a pass to an open player who hit the shot. That opened up both of their games. They both shot an incredible percentage (21-of-38 overall)."
The Bears shot a season-best 58.9 percent, and the Cougars converted 58 percent of their chances. In the second half, WSU nailed 78.0 percent, while Cal hit 72 percent.
"Our help side wasn't as aggressive as we would have liked it to have been," said Horstmeyer. "Sherri (Murrell) is an extremely good coach. I'm sure she told her players to penetrate when she saw that our help side wasn't there. I thought our help side was pretty good in the first half, and we thought 40 percent was too high shooting."
Five different players scored as Cal built a 16-10 lead with 12:42 left in the first half. WSU closed the gap to 16-14 before Anaz scored five points in an 8-0 Bears' run which put them up 24-14. With 5:18 until the break, Cal took its biggest first-half lead at 27-16 following a three-point play by Anaz, who finished the half with 14 points.
O'Keith set the tempo early after halftime, converting one of her two three-pointers on the Bears' first possession. Cal twice went up 12 points, but WSU cut the deficit to seven at 40-33. Behind a three-pointer from Kristin Iwanaga and a three-point play from Jacqueline Sanchez, the Bears rattled off 10 unanswered points to go up 50-33 with 16:14 to play.
After the Bears built their biggest lead of the game at 57-39, the Cougars went on a 10-2 run to close to 59-49 at the 12:00 mark, but that's as close as WSU would get the rest of the game. The Bears twice regained a 17-point edge.
Sanchez stepped up off the Cal bench to post nine points, four rebounds, four steals and one assist. Senior reserve center Olga Volkova added six points, three rebounds and two assists.
Bianca McCall led Washington State with 16 points, and Stephanie Singer had 11.
Cal returns home to Haas Pavilion for three games over the next two week. Up first is Arizona on Thursday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m.